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[[quoteright:241:[[ComicBook/{{Marvels}} http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/maggiemarvels1_1352.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:241:[[TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}} Beware the mutant.]]]]

[=Mutants=] are, by general definition, organisms that have undergone a permanent change to their genetic structure relative to the norm for their species. Sometimes this results in a new race or breed, or even, as mutations accumulate over time, a new species (speciation), and sometimes it's a one-off that produces effects that don't breed true, or are (most commonly) so negative that they prevent the individual mutant from successfully surviving and breeding. Technically, any deviation in a person's genetic code from a "simple" combination of his parents' alleles would be a mutation. On average, human beings have 150 to 175 mutations each, the vast majority of which are undetectable. So technically, we're all mutants.

That's in real life.

Mutants in fiction follow this same basic idea (though normally portrayed in [[MagicGenetics biologically implausible or impossible]] ways), but have a much wider variety of phenotype effects than RealLife mutations because of HollywoodEvolution. Fictional mutants are often {{Super Hero}}es, because "mutation" is a [[MetaOrigin very easy way]] to get multiple [[StockSuperpowers power sets]] from a single SuperHeroOrigin (this is why ''Comicbook/{{X-Men}}'', the first major comic to have LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters introduced all at once, starred a group of mutants). Just as often, humans or other animals are mutated somehow into [[PowerUpgradingDeformation hideous]] AlwaysChaoticEvil monsters for the heroes to fight, or [[TheGrotesque pitiful misunderstood freaks]]. Because even low levels of radiation can be deadly with prolonged exposure, it's common for stories to have RadiationImmuneMutants who can survive, thrive on, or ''require'' radiation to live.

There are two different ways to use the word Mutant: it can refer to characters who were born with a mutation, such as most members of the ComicBook/{{X-Men}}. Creator/MarvelComics, the storytellers that have to be the most specific about this kind of thing, refers to these as '''Mutants'''. The other definition is things that have had their genetic code changed after birth, whether by [[ILoveNuclearPower radiation damage]], [[GeneticEngineeringIsTheNewNuke gene therapy]], or a [[ThePlague pandemic disease]]. Marvel calls these '''Mutates'''. Usually in fiction, these after-market mutations also alter germ cells and [[LamarckWasRight get passed on to the mutate's kids]]. For clarity's sake (and in accordance with the [[SuperRegistrationAct Mutant Registration Act]]), we keep the examples of these two different kinds of mutation separate.

The mutates variety (and certain mutants with an UnstableGeneticCode) are prone to experiencing TransformationHorror in some form or fashion.

May overlap with EvolutionaryLevels if the mutants are "[[TranshumanTreachery superior]]" to mankind. A type of SuperHeroOrigin. Very frequent targets for FantasticRacism.

A large body of examples of fictional mutants can also be seen on {{Wikipedia}}: [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mutant_%28fictional%29 Mutant (fictional)]]

!!Examples of Mutants


[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* The Contractors and Dolls of ''Anime/DarkerThanBlack'' probably count, being a DarkerAndEdgier take on the traditional comic books version, although other than the fact that they generally have a MetaOrigin, there's no indication of whether or not any genetic difference exists.
** It might even be a subversion; it's mentioned offhand that some government research organizations assumed it was genetic, tried eugenics programs to get themselves a superpowered army, and failed miserably.
* The diclonii in ''Manga/ElfenLied''. A particularly creepy example, given that after going through the motions of persecution and acceptance, [[spoiler:humanity exterminates them and this is [[EsotericHappyEnding considered a good thing]].]]
* Sein of ''Franchise/LyricalNanoha'' was revealed in the [[AudioAdaptation third Sound Stage]] of ''Anime/MagicalGirlLyricalNanohaStrikerS'' to be one in addition to being a {{Cyborg}}. Unlike her sisters, she had an unexpected mutation when she was being born. This is the source of her [[IntangibleMan phasing abilities]].
* The idea that Newtypes in ''Anime/MobileSuitGundam'' are a result of evolution or mutation is gradually debunked as the metaseries goes on. In the earliest shows, however, they are implied to be humans adapting to living (and dying) in space by gaining enhanced senses and low-level PsychicPowers. All related tropes about mutants being exploited, persecuted, and persecuting back apply in full, as well.
* Any ''Manga/{{Naruto}}'' character or clan that has a "bloodline trait," such as the Uchiha clan and their Sharingan.
* One ''Manga/DigimonVTamer01'''s protagonists is a PrehistoricMonster and every last mutant he encounters is antagonistic towards him, though some of them do become his friends later. For whatever reason, many of these monsters have their mutant status revoked in later Franchise/{{Digimon}} works.
* An interview with Creator/AkiraToriyama years after the conclusion of ''Franchise/DragonBall'' revealed that Frieza and King Cold were mutants among their own race, hence why they were exceptionally strong compared to the vast majority of them (which, according to ''VideoGame/DragonballXenoverse'', are more-or-less [[FragileSpeedster Fragile Speedsters]]).

[[folder: Comic Books ]]
* This is the premise of the ''Comicbook/{{X-Men}}'' franchise. where mutations form the team's MetaOrigin for StockSuperPowers ranging from the semi plausible to the blatantly absurd. [[FantasticRacism Discrimination]] against Mutants and by Mutants (some of whom believe that they, collectively, are [[EvolutionaryLevels a step above humanity]]) is one of the work's constant major themes.
* TheDarkKnightReturns comic had a massive teen gang called the Mutants terrifying Gotham. The leader was probably the only Mutant who might actually be a mutant. Well, that or a plain old sociopath with filed teeth.
* An issue of the classic ECComics horror/sci-fi anthology series ''Weird Science'' (not [[Film/WeirdScience that one]]) had a story titled "The Loathsome" about a badly deformed little girl being raised in an orphanage. Her father, a US Navy sailor, had his own DNA damaged by exposure to radiation during an atom bomb test in the Pacific just prior to returning home and fathering her. A military doctor convinced him to give up the infant and tell his wife the child had died shortly after birth. The girl had no super powers and certainly wasn't evil, but was treated as a monster by her caretakers and the other orphans because of her severe physical deformities. The story was AnAesop (a heart-wrenchingly tragic one) about the perils of nuclear weapons and mistreatment of people who are "different." You can read it [[http://weirdsciencefiction.blogspot.com/2010/07/loathsome.html here.]]
** Paid homage to by Alex Ross with Maggie in ComicBook/{{Marvels}} (See above image.)
* Mutants exist in the ''ComicBook/JudgeDredd'' universe and, until recent years, were banned from MegaCity One.
* In ''ComicBook/StrontiumDog'', mutants were the result of a nuclear war. Nelson Bunker Kreelman tries to have them exterminated and they rebel, winning their right to exist. However, they are banned from all employment, barring bounty hunting.
* {{Thanos}} is a mutant Eternal born with an appearance similar to that of the monstrous Deviants. That same mutation is also why he is considerably more powerful than the average Titanian Eternal.

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* ''FanFic/OriginStory'' is set in the Marvel Universe, so yes, there are mutants. The most notable one is Louise Fulford, the main character's LoveInterest. Her mutant power, the ability to change her hair color (all her hair, not just the stuff on her head) to any shade or combination of shades she wishes) is less than overwhelming.
** There is an entire community of homeless, low-powered mutants living under an overpass in Los Angeles. Alex Harris (the story's main character) and Louise take shelter with them for a while, and look after them afterward.

* The film ''Film/{{Freaks}}'' which also contains a RealLife example since no makeup or special effects were used. The stars of this movie were sadly plagued with rare disabilities but were apparently happy and willing to travel with the circus and make a career out of it.
** This is very much [[TruthInTelevision Truth In Movies]] as these kinds of disabilities often made earning a living by conventional means difficult or impossible, but if you managed to hook up with a good show, was a ticket to fame and riches. When these conditions began to be medicalized by 'reformers' eager to stop this 'exploitation' it was the freaks themselves who spearheaded the resistance, since they could see the result would be their own impoverishment (and that has been the result, with many people who could formerly have gotten rich from their disabilities now living in poverty because of them). In fact, most of the acts featured in the movie (and in their sideshow acts) are about normalization, such as Frances O'Connor eating her dinner with a knife and fork or knitting despite not having arms, Johnny Eck walking without legs, and Prince Randian lighting and smoking a cigarette when he doesn't have limbs at all.
* The [[AttackOfthe50FootWhatever giant ants]] in ''Film/{{Them}}'' are an example, oddly enough. The radiation from nuclear testing didn't cause the ants to suddenly become gigantic; it was the ''offspring'' of those irradiated ants (along with their increased size, they emerged as adults from their eggs, with no larval or pupal stages in between. Another genetic quirk).
* The telepathic mutants in ''Film/BeneathThePlanetOfTheApes''.

* Creator/EdmondHamilton's story ''He That Hath Wings'' features a mutant born after his mother was hit with electricity (there is a long explanation fitting firmly into the ScienceMarchesOn area). The child is born a WingedHumanoid, a rather obvious inspiration to the [[Comicbook/XMen Angel]]. Unfortunately, another thing the Angel seems to have inherited is a tendency toward tragic biography.
* ''Literature/PerryRhodan'' used to feature a Mutant Corps (with generally PsychicPowers) especially in the early series, when they were one of Earth's few trump cards against a militarily superior universe. Over time, attrition took its toll (especially when the first-generation immortality phlebotinum became unavailable and the replacement was sharply limited in supply) and various countermeasures were introduced, but the few remaining mutants stayed on as main characters for a long time and occasionally a new one or two would show up. More recently, a wave of mostly teenage mutants appeared that could trace their origin back to mass genetic engineering on a particular colony world during the latest dark age of the galaxy; these were, however, also afflicted with a deliberate genetic flaw that would eventually trigger and kill them, and the eventual cure had the side effect of removing their powers as well.
* The ''Literature/{{Foundation}}'' series gives us The Mule, although the later novels retconned his origin.
* The escapism inherent in this trope was subverted as early as 1954, in Creator/AlfredBester's short story "5,271,009." Here, the main character is put in a ''LotusEaterMachine'' and experiences multiple juvenile fantasies, each of which is explained by "a mysterious mutant strain in his makeup that makes him different." On the other hand, the Espers (telepaths) of ''Literature/TheDemolishedMan'' fit the Franchise/{{X-Men}} version very closely, including the idea of classifying them according to different levels of super power.
* The ''Literature/VorkosiganSaga'' actually uses mutants correctly: instead of superpowers, you get horrible deformities! Barrayar became a LostColony for a while after the [[HyperspaceLanes wormhole nexus]] connecting them to the wider galaxy was disrupted somehow, well before they had a large enough population to avoid problems with inbreeding, and then a neighbouring power with territorial ambitions made matters worse by dropping a bunch of nukes on them. The resulting cultural stigma against any kind of deformity -even non-hereditary ones like a cleft lip, or what happened to Miles ''in utero''- is something they're still along way from moving past for most of the series.
* Serroi in the ''Literature/DuelOfSorceryTrilogy''. In this case, it means that she's [[LittleMissBadass tiny]], [[AmazingTechnicolorPopulation green-skinned]], and has what seems to be a pineal eye of sorts and PsychicPowers.
* Mutants born after a suitcase bomb goes off in New Jersey are the protagonists (and antagonists) of Tom DeHaven's affecting novel ''Freaks' Amour.''
* ''Literature/TheChrysalids'' by Creator/JohnWyndham features a [[WorldWarIII post-apocalyptic society]] where mutants are a common occurrence. However, seeing as its a CrapsackWorld, they're immediately exiled or killed on discovery.
* Played very darkly in the metatextual post-apocalyptic novel ''Literature/TheIronDream'', where mutants are used as a metaphor for how fascists (specifically, Hitler) view other races than their own.

[[folder: Live Action TV ]]
* The Daleks of ''Series/DoctorWho''. And apparently the Thals, although they seem to have recovered by the start of ''The Dead Planet.'' Alydon [speaking of the Daleks] : "If they call us mutations... what must they be like?"
** The Thals are mutants, too. It's just that their mutations were beneficial, making them healthy and beautiful.
*** The Thals are an interesting subversion. They initially mutated into creatures similar to the Daleks, but where the Daleks "stabilized" and stopped mutating the Thals continued, eventually coming full circle, mutating back into basically their original form.
** The Third Doctor story entitled ''The Mutants'' turns out to be an aversion. The supposedly mutant Solonians are in fact undergoing a natural metamorphosis as part of their life cycle. What's more, the insect-like "mutant" form is merely an intermediate stage, and the final form is a powerful, god-like being.
* ''Series/{{Heroes}}'' presents its StockSuperPowers as the product of mutation.
* The ThematicRoguesGallery of ''Series/PowerRangersTimeForce''.
* ''Series/TheXFiles'' regularly featured these as the MonsterOfTheWeek, including the liver-eating Eugene Victor Tooms, among numerous others.
* Series/{{Sanctuary}} has Abnormals, which seems to cover mutants and mutates.
* Played for comedy and mixed with LegoGenetics in one episode of ''TheMightyBoosh''. [[CrowdSong We are the mutant race!]] [[EarWorm Don't look at my eyes, don't look at my face!]]
* [[ShockAndAwe Gwen Raiden]] from ''Series/{{Angel}}'' has extremely high voltage, and over the years has discovered interesting uses with her powers. For example, sticking her hand in a laser grid, and taking control of the lasers without setting off the alarm. She stands out as this trope because she lacks demonic heritage or magical training like most powered being in this universe, she just developed it naturally. (Though the source of her power is never really examined and could in fact be supernaturally based. All that's really known is she gets struck by lightning a lot.)
** There was also a character named Bethany who had telekinesis, but that might be considered a PsychicPower instead. Again, precisely where the power comes from is not explained, but it's only present in people who suffer severe trauma.
* ''Series/BuckRogersInTheTwentyFifthCentury'':
** In an episode, a group of terrorists trying to blow up an antimatter-fueled power station on Earth includes a mutant henchman with the ability to go de-solid (and thus could make himself immune to attacks at will). Their plot is defeated because the henchman makes a HeelFaceTurn because he ''will not permit'' another planet to suffer the same fate as his own world, where everyone not only has powers, but also hideous deformities from the effects of a similar event in the past. (This somewhat misses the point, as most of Earth is populated only by radiation-damaged beings anyway, according to the pilot.)
** Another episode involves people from a world where everyone, by law, must wear a mask (with a distinctive pattern on it, unique to each individual) and is absolutely prohibited from removing it in the presence of anyone else. One young man, the son of one of the leaders, wants to end this practice. At the end of the episode, he removes his mask and Buck is astonished because he's a handsome, normal-looking human. The subtle horror is revealed when his father and the guards remove their own masks...and reveal that everyone on their planet ''looks exactly alike''.

[[folder:Other Sites]]
* ''Wiki/SCPFoundation''
** [[http://scp-wiki.net/scp-654 SCP-654 ("Thunderhorn")]]. SCP-654 is a narwhale that can [[ShockAndAwe fire a lightning bolt from its horn]]. Its lightning bolt ability is noted as being a mutation.
** [[http://www.scp-wiki.net/scp-783 SCP-783 ("Baba Yaga's Cottage")]]. Any animal that enters the Cottage undergoes massive mutations which usually give enhanced combat abilities.

* A staple in Creator/DataEastPinball's ''Pinball/TalesFromTheCrypt''

[[folder: Tabletop Games ]]
* In ''TabletopGame/{{Paranoia}}'', Mutants tie with Commies and Traitors for the greatest threat to Alpha Complex. In fact, if you are a Mutant, you probably are a Commie Traitor as well. Unfortunately, '''every''' PlayerCharacter is a mutant. Please report to the nearest Execution Center, citizen.
** Being a mutant is just grounds for immediate execution. The only exception being if you are a 'registered mutant' in which case you just have to wear a bright yellow ribbon at all times, and might as well have "scapegoat" tattooed on your head.
* ''TabletopGame/D20Modern'' features rules for playing as someone with special mutant abilities.
* ''TabletopGame/GammaWorld'' had an AfterTheEnd setting with mutated humans, animals, and plants.
* ''Mutant'' and ''Mutant Space'' were Swedish roleplaying games that spawned the ''MutantChronicles'' universe (despite the name, MC is not about mutants).
** However, ''Mutant'' has been re-released several time afterwards. It is, after all, Sweden's third or second largest domestic tabletop game. And for any reader who is confused; ''Mutant'' is not about mutants, but they sure as h*ll are an important part of it.
* ''MutantsAndMasterminds'' uses this as a common 'origin story'.
* ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'''s [[TheEmpire Imperium of Man]] views mutation as a scourge on the purity of the human race, and a threat to the very survival of the species. While the official stance on mutation calls for [[KillItWithFire harsh measures]], many worlds nonetheless have sizable mutant populations, who are either wretched outcasts scavenging an existence on the fringes of society, or used as highly-disposable slave labor or CannonFodder. However, some strains of mutants have stabilized into subraces the Imperium calls "abhumans," most notably [[TheOgre Ogryns]] and [[{{Hobbits}} Ratlings]], who serve specialized roles in the Imperial Guard, and the psychic Navigator caste who are required for [[HyperspaceIsAScaryPlace Warp]] travel.
** Technically the Imperium's official policy is to only kill mutants whose mutations are related to the influence of the Warp (which is pretty much a NecessaryEvil given the Warp's nature), while those whose deviations are a result of normal evolution are supposed to be tolerated. [[CrapsackWorld Given what kind of setting this is]] however, official policy is not always followed to the letter (and, of course, it's not like you can afford hesitating if the category is unclear).
** The Tyranid Old One Eye was speculated to be a mutant created as an experiment in rapid cell regeneration. In 3rd edition, it was completely unique and implied that it was a failure and was disposed of by Hive Fleet Behemoth. However, centuries after Behemoth's passing, the Carnifex awoke again and started causing havoc. It's characteristics were later seen in rank and file carnifexes, implying that Hive Fleet Kraken and Leviathan later deemed it's mutation a success and reabsorbed it. It's also implied that there were more than one Old One Eye, as it also has begun showing up alongside it's more conventional brethren.
** In a similar vein, the Genestealers of Ymgarl were thought to be a branch left over from a previous Tyranid invasion (one that predated the Imperium) and were forgotten on the moon Ymgarl. With the recent entry of Hive Fleet Leviathan, they awoke and were eager to rejoin their brothers. However, the Hive Fleets seem to be treating them with the same suspicion as Old One Eye, as the Ymgarl stealers have become genetically unstable due to reproducing on the moon for so many generations and often exhibit mutations ''during combat'', meaning they're a lucky boon at best, a horrible handicap at worse. As they seem to be absent from the 6th edition Tyranid book, it seems that the hive fleets have decided not to incorporate them.
* Mutants in ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer}}'' are usually killed at birth or killed later by the Witch Hunters, but those that do survive tend to retreat to the dark corners of the Old World and band together with similar misshapen outcasts. The [[BeastMan beastmen]] are one such society, a successful "breed" of mutant that resembles a savage, bloodthirsty satyr.
* There's mutants in ''{{Exalted}}'' too. Mutants come in two main flavors, the bioengineered people created by the Solars in the First Age and the humans and creatures exposed to the Wyld at the edge of the world. The first are somewhat rational, physically predictable and still human in their way of thinking, the second... can vary widely in sanity and form.
** Oh, and there are people whose bodies are twisted by power places like demesnes or the fact they have inhuman ancestry from gods, demons and other creatures...
* In ''TabletopGame/VampireTheRequiem'' Bloodlines are a form of mutation. Upon reaching a certain level of power, Vampires can fundamentally alter their blood to become a new Bloodline (A subspecies of Vampire)...But the only real catalyst for this is a large expenditure of willpower and the sufficiently potent blood. More then a few Bloodlines have emerged accidentally, or has the result of the Founder surviving a nasty curse.

[[folder: Video Games ]]
* ''VideoGame/CityOfHeroes'' has mutation as one of the stock superpower origins.
* The Sai, the descendants of the humans in {{VideoGame/Stormrise}} have mutated in order to adapt to the extreme conditions after a experiment to change the climate of earth by mankind went horribly wrong, resulting in the mother of all storms and turning most the earth uninhabitable.
* In ''Nasuverse'' a lot of characters get their powers by being born mutants. In one of the side stories it is said that while such a person can turn the side of a battle, they typically don't survive said battle. And keeping these mutations in the next generation is a difficult task. A few families of the Demon Hunter Association managed to overcome these problems, especially Nanaya and Ryogi. Their powers were not particularly impressive, but they compensated this by being [[BadassFamily Badass Families]].
* In VideoGame/{{Killzone}} the Helghast have evolved to suit the environment of their adopted homeworld, to the point that they require specialized breathing apparatus to visit other worlds. Complete with [[RedEyesTakeWarning evil red eyes]].
* In the ''[[VideoGame/SaGa Final Fantasy Legend]]'' trilogy, mutants ("espers" in Japanese) are one of the playable races. In the first and second games they randomly gain or lose traits after battles.
* In ''VideoGame/UFOAftershock'', there are two races, the Cyborgs and the Psionics, who are humans who were born with special abilities due to a genetic mutation caused by the Biomass. The Cyborgs' mutation allowed them to graft robotic implants onto themselves easily, while the Psionics developed PsychicPowers.

[[folder: Web Comics ]]
* Webcomic/{{Bug|Martini}} [[http://www.bugcomic.com/comics/lousy-lineage/ deconstructs the idea of gaining superpowers by mutation.]]
* In ''Webcomic/TheInexplicableAdventuresOfBob,'' a {{unicorn}} mare was exposed to strange pollution, and her offspring grew into Generictown's resident {{Kaiju}}, [[http://bobadventures.comicgenesis.com/d/20090428.html Unigar the Vast Unicorn.]]
** And the [[StockNessMonster Loch Ness Monster]] is a 65-million year old mutant newt.
* In ''Webcomic/{{Sinfest}}'', [[http://www.sinfest.net/view.php?date=2004-09-24 Slick bolts from a polluted scene at the sight of a mutant.]]

[[folder: Web Original ]]
* Mutants in the ''Franchise/{{X-Men}}'' style are the basis of the Literature/WhateleyUniverse. Some tiny fraction of the people who have the 'meta-gene complex' manifest as mutants, typically around age 14. Most of them - good, bad, or indifferent - go to Whateley Academy to learn how to use their powers and not get murdered by lynch mobs of baselines.

[[folder: Western Animation ]]
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}}'' features a society of downtrodden mutants with amusingly altered physical states (a girl with a pig nose and gills, a man with a third arm instead of an ear) forced to live in the sewers of New New York. None of them have superpowers, though (well, not from their mutations, anyway).

[[folder: Real Life ]]
* Actually very rarely "played straight" so to speak. Most anomalies in the human body are caused by development issues, such as unusual womb conditions, not by genetic alterations. Thus, the number of unusual looking "mutants" are actually "mutates".
* The preponderance of evidence suggests that Britain's ''Queen Victoria'' was a genuine mutant. Many of her descendants inherited the allele for hemophilia from her, yet neither of her parents' bloodlines carry this trait, indicating that a random genetic mutation made her a carrier for this disorder. ...that assumes that all of her official ancestors were her actual ancestors.
** Because she was an only child, it's also possible that her mother was the mutant, and she only inherited it, making them both carriers. (Because her mother had brothers, it's improbable that it went back any farther.)
* There are people who actually play this straighter to the comic version, with seeming superhuman abilities stemming from a genetic mutation, or are believed to. Certain people's bodies are naturally resistant to electricity to the point grabbing a live wire does nothing to them, and they can even redirect it. [[http://www.cracked.com/article_19661_6-real-people-with-mind-blowing-mutant-superpowers.html This article]] lists several people with near superhuman capabilities that most likely stem from simply being born with unique traits others lack (not all count, though).

!!Examples of Mutates

[[folder: Anime and Manga ]]
* The Zoanoids from the ''{{Guyver}}'' franchise.
* No human examples, but in the [[AfterTheEnd Acid Tokyo]] storyline of ''TsubasaReservoirChronicle'', they spend a fair portion of their time fighting hideous, deformed monsters whom the survivors identify as 'mutants.' How having the world destroyed by ''acid raid'' resulted in animals mutating into three-headed spitting snakes or carnivorous earthworms the size of semis is never really explained.
* Anyone that has ever eaten a Devil Fruit in ''OnePiece''. Unfortunately, [[SuperDrowningSkills they're no longer able to swim]].

[[folder: Comic Books ]]
* Comicbook/{{Spider-Man}} originally got his powers when the bite of a radioactive/[[RetCon genetically-altered]] spider altered his genes. [[ILoveNuclearPower As it does]].
** And Dr. Connors/The Lizard had a lab accident. So did Morpheus, at least in some backstories. Black Cat was injected with SuperSerum.
** ''Comicbook/UntoldTalesOfSpiderMan'' featured Batwing, who was originally a prepubescent boy. When he got lost in the Carlsbad Caverns and drank water polluted from illegal chemical dumping, he turned into a giant flying bat-creature.
* Comicbook/IncredibleHulk got mutated to his green self by a hefty dose of gamma radiation. He can switch it on and off...
* The ''Franchise/TeenageMutantNinjaTurtles'' in all their incarnations, as well as a large number of their allies and antagonists, are animals or humans mutated into TeenageMutantSamuraiWombats.
* ''ComicBook/StrontiumDog'' has mutants all over the place due to strontium-90 fallout in the aftermath of a nuclear war. However, since this isn't America, only a tiny fraction of the mutates actually get powers - most are just disfigured.
* Likewise for ''ComicBook/JudgeDredd''; both strips have mostly been written by John Wagner and Alan Grant for years.
* The ''ComicBook/FantasticFour'' received their powers as a result of exposure to space-radiation.
** One Superman Story, very likely as a TakeThat against Marvel, featured a group of 4 people who got exposed to space-radiation. They mutated and got super powers alright. Then they died. Because radiation is dangerous.
* Creator/MilestoneComics' ComicBook/{{Static}}, probably better known in his [[StaticShock animated form.]]
* Comicbook/{{Daredevil}}'s childhood accident with radioactive/chemical/whatever waste blinded him, but also helped to enhance his senses beyond what would be possible for a non-mutate blind person.
* Despite Comicbook/SinCity being more realistic than most comic series, The Yellow Bastard could still very easily be considered a mutate. He underwent gene therapy in order to reattatch his lost body parts, turning into a yellow freak in the process.
* Zig-zagged in the DCU. While there are some straight-up mutates, many super heroes (and villains) were later reconned to have something called a "Metagene", which grants super powers under a moment of [[TraumaticSuperpowerAwakening intense psychological stress]].

* ''Film/TheToxicAvenger''!
* The ''Film/{{Doom}}'' movie.
* Franchise/{{Godzilla}}, Rodan, King Ghidorah (The 90s version at least), [[Film/GodzillaVsBiollante Biollante]], or nearly every single [[{{Kaiju}} giant monster]] applies here.
* The apocalyptic film ''Film/PropheciesOfNostradamus'' / ''The Last Days of Planet Earth'' featured several mutates (and a few Mutants as well) of varying stripes. One of the most frightening was a group of irradiated humans who became arboreal cannibals covered with cancerous sours.
* The film ''Film/TheAlligatorPeople'' has... well, a man whose genes got mixed with an alligator due to Radiation.

[[folder: Live Action TV ]]
* Alex Mack, the title heroine and protagonist from ''TheSecretWorldOfAlexMack'', is a mutant who got her powers from exposure to the AppliedPhlebotinum GC-161.
* The titular mutants (or mutts) from the ''Series/DoctorWho'' episode [[Recap/DoctorWhoS9E4TheMutants ''The Mutants'']]. In this case, the mutations turn out to be universal, and the effect of the planet in question moving into Summer.
** The Kaleds, even those who are opposed to the creation of the Daleks, also have a strict idea of racial purity. In ''Genesis of the Daleks'' they are shown to abandon 'mutos', who have disabilities or don't look good enough, on the hostile planet surface. And those mutos were most likely created by Davros's experiments.
* Although many of the characters are mutants, many characters of Series/{{Heroes}} get their powers from being injected with a gene-altering formula.
* ''Series/MutantX'', despite the name, is mostly about people modified ''after'' birth. There is one who was modified either before or immediately after his birth... he didn't grow up so well. Some mutants also have children, who naturally fit the first part.

[[folder: Tabletop Games ]]
* The Empire in ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer}}'' responds to mutations in much the same way as the Imperium in 40K.
* Mutation is rife in ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'' due to [[TheCorruption the corrupting influence of Chaos]]. Most Imperial citizens who suddenly sprout a third arm are [[BurnTheWitch promptly burnt at the stake]], so it is Chaos worshipers who tend to survive to appreciate the "gifts" of their patron deity ([[BodyHorror or]] [[WasOnceAMan not]]). The [[HordeOfAlienLocusts Tyranids]] also routinely mutate their prey, dropping spores to send the plant life of a world into an explosion of growth, the better to harvest the planet's biomass.
** The Soul Drinkers are an ever-depleting SpaceMarine Chapter of mutants. [[spoiler: Although they are able to purify their gene-seed for future generations of recruits, those already altered can't be changed back - and many wouldn't want to, due to the [[CursedWithAwesome benefits]].]]
** Any chapter that has had their geneseed corrupted will result in this. Notable chapters include the above-mentioned Soul Drinkers and the Black Dragons, who's organ that regulates superhuman bone growth has become hyperactive, resulting in long talons of bone growing from the extremities (such as on the elbow or from the wrists). The Black Dragons have weaponized this, but are attempting to hide it from the Inquisition for fear of being purged. Other examples include the Blood Angel (and their successor chapters) and their Red Thirst. Because Geneseed corruption can lead to hazards for the chapter, every chapter is heavily monitored, being required to send periodic "tithes" of geneseed to the Adeptus Mechanics for both health monitoring and to stock up for future space marine creation. A few chapters have turned traitor due to a Geneseed mutation, causing them to go psycho (although the authenticity of this is debatable, as the Imperium's definition of "traitor" is very loose).
** Chaos Sorcerors can weaponize this in some editions, using a power called "Gift of Mutation" or "Boon of Mutation", which can mutate one enemy model and turn them into a mewling chaos spawn. This is not a pleasant experience. This has led to some hilarious table-top interactions, as this bypasses the instant death immunity rule "Eternal Warrior", making it excellent for sniping enemy characters (such as turning ''a star god'' into a chaos spawn).
* Wyld mutants in {{Exalted}}. The Wyld is [[WorldGoneMad pure chaos and change]]. Over-exposure to it - or, in many cases, ''any'' exposure to it - can cause both the flesh and mind to warp in bizarre ways, and after a certain amount of mutation, often the [[UsedToBeAMan former person]] can no longer live outside of the Wyld.

[[folder: Video Games ]]
* ''Franchise/{{Bioshock}}'': The splicers were originally ordinary people who purchased injectible upgrades for their DNA when ADAM arrived on the market, gaining good looks, intelligence, even super powers... right before the side-effects of frivolous ADAM-usage started cropping up.
* ''VideoGame/CityOfHeroes'' lists this power origin as "Science", as in the character got their powers in a scientific accident.
* The Forgotten in ''VideoGame/CommandAndConquer'' are the result of the Brotherhood of NOD's human experiments with [[GreenRocks Tiberium]], and each faction views them differently: the Brotherhood outright loathes the ''mutants'', the ''shiners'' are nothing more than a convenient ally for GDI, and ''The Forgotten'' view themselves [[ProudWarriorRaceGuy "a people of honor"]]. Naturally, they always get shafted.
* ''VideoGame/{{Fallout}}'' features radiation-altered mutants and bigger, badder Super Mutants as opponents wandering the wasteland AfterTheEnd.
** There are also some humans with minor mutations amongst the human populace. The Slags in VideoGame/{{Fallout 2}} are a group of humans who took shelter in subterranean caves and when they returned to the surface, they found out that their bodies couldn't handle living on the outside. Your own character can get a sixth mutated toe by stepping on the radiated goo in the Toxic Caves without protective boots, but you can pay a doctor to amputate it. A man in Gecko was scorned in Vault City and eventually exiled himself because of the way he was mistreated for being very radiation resistant. In VideoGame/{{Fallout Tactics|BrotherhoodOfSteel}}, one of the enemy groups you fight against is the group of tribals called "The Beastlords", a group of tribals mutated by radiation near the caverns where they lived, which gave those tribals the ability to mind-control most animals near them, except humans and deathclaws.
** In ''VideoGame/{{Fallout 3}}'', your PlayerCharacter can be bestowed a variety of mutations as you level up, ranging from simple radiation resistance, to having a HealingFactor while suffering radiation poisoning to being able to heal yourself via cannibalism. The last such feat that can be taken causes the PC to VIOLENTLY EXPLODE when s/he hits critical health, without actually hurting herself.
** Towards the end of ''Fallout 3'', it is heavily implied that '''everyone''' in the District of Columbia, with the exception of Enclave personnel, has been mutated from radiation--but most of the mutations are so minor as to be unnoticeable. This theme was already present in ''Fallout 2'', where it's outright stated that everybody in the world apart from the Enclave and the Vault dwellers has gotten various minor mutations due to the persistent background radiation. To the Enclave, who had just been terrified from discovering the ghouls and the super mutants, this was strong grounds for planet-wide genocide.
* In ''VideoGame/MasterOfOrion II'', there's a tech called Evolutionary Mutation, which, [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin as the name says]], allows a one-time change to statistics of the race that discovers it.
* In ''VideoGame/SepterraCore'', the inhabitants of [[WorldShapes Shell 7]] were mutated by the emissions of the Core, and are now a separate species known as Underlost. They look like [[Franchise/{{Alien}} xenomorphs]] with hard exoskeletons. Despite their fearsome appearance, they aren't crazy or evil.
* The Zerg in ''{{Starcraft}}'' mutate captured samples of enemy races to [[TheCorruption assimilate them]] into The Swarm. Most notable in the game is their assimilation and alteration of future BigBad Sarah Kerrigan.

[[folder: Web Comics ]]
* In ''Webcomic/SluggyFreelance'' the No-Fun Corporation infects someone with a virus that causes them to [[http://sluggy.com/comics/archives/daily/20091116 mutate randomly]], which just so happens to turn him into a giant, cannibalistic monster. Go figure.

[[folder: Web Original ]]
* [[NotUsingTheZedWord Psionics]] in ''Literature/TheDescendants'' are a corner case. While they're born for the most part in the present, it's stated that these mutations were kicked off generations ago by WWII era [[GeneticEngineeringIsTheNewNuke experiments]].
* FreaksMutantsAndMonsters
* ''{{Literature/Worm}}'' has the Case 53s, people used as test subjects for Cauldron who have large physical changes to go along with their powers.

[[folder: Western Animation ]]
* The ''Toxic Crusaders'', a kiddiefied version of the very not-family-friendly Toxic Avenger franchise.
* ''Mutant League'', loosely based on the videogames, posits a [[MetaOrigin common origin]] for all the mutants; a huge toxic spill/explosion under the world's largest stadium on game day.
* ''Defenders of Dynatron City''.
* The sewer Mutants in ''WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}}'' are people born and exposed to the large amount of sewage and waste created by 31st century society. These mutations usually result in humans with one area of their anatomy that's largely altered (like possesing a tentacle for an arm). Their similarity to RubberForeheadAliens is why [[spoiler:Leela]] was able to pass for a functioning member of society until TheReveal.
* Parodied in a WhatIf episode of ''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy'' where the Griffins get super powers from radioactive waste. When Mayor West tries to replicate the results, he just gets leukemia.
* In ''WesternAnimation/KimPossible'' DarkActionGirl Shego and her brothers received their superpowers by being in the proximity of a meteor impact.
* In Book 2 of ''WesternAnimation/TheLegendOfKorra'', it's shown that [[spoiler:'''the Avatar him/herself''']] is a form of mutate. When a spirit [[DemonicPossession possesses a person]], the possessed's morphology and anatomy [[BodyHorror radically changes in accordance to the spirit]]; in [[spoiler:Wan's]] case, these alterations were internal and perhaps more metaphysical in nature, since he fused with Raava, the light spirit. After their permanent bonding in the Harmonic Convergence, they became united as one, and as such [[spoiler:the Avatar]] has ever since been a human altered by Raava's essence.